A snake handling preacher and star of the reality show Snake Salvation died yesterday after being bitten by a snake.
Jamie Coots, a Kentucky Pentecostal pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling, died Saturday night after he was bitten by a venomous snake during a church service. After being bitten Coots refused medical attention that might have saved his life, “on account of his belief that God would not allow him to die from a snake bite.”
Snake handlers like Coots draw their inspiration from a literal interpretation of the King James Bible, which says in part that “they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”
Raw Story reports snake-handlers believe that their ability to hold, and occasionally dance with snakes comes from what are called “the signs of the gospels,” which are found in Mark 16:
CNN reports Coots was a third-generation “serpent handler” and aspired to one day pass the practice and his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, on to his adult son, Little Cody.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
No report on the welfare of the snake; however, it seems certain that Coots will be a frontrunner in this year’s Darwin Awards.